By Tadesse yimer
July 8, 2013,
Norwegian authorities are now beginning to carry out forced returns to Ethiopia for the first time in over twenty years. NOAS fear that the Ethiopians will be sent back to torture or other serious abuse.
NOAS know that at least one Ethiopian linked to an illegal opposition party is arrested and imprisoned on Trandum Immigration Detention Centre to send out one of these days.
– Forced Returns to Ethiopia could end with a human rights disaster. For some Ethiopians will probably return visit quite good, but others will be exposed if they are sent back. Our fear is that political dissidents and government critics to be returned to persecution by the authorities, says Mari Seilskjær in Norwegian Organization for Asylum Seekers (NOAS).
Norwegian authorities signed a return agreement with Ethiopia in January last year. Norway is the only country in Europe which have concluded such an agreement on forced returns to Ethiopia. There is considerable uncertainty about what will meet some of the asylum seekers with final rejection upon return to their home country, especially those who have been involved in illegal political opposition.
– Many asylum seekers are associated with illegal opposition parties. Some of these have been granted protection in Norway, but we believe that several of those who have been denied risk imprisonment and torture if they are sent back, says Seilskjær.
Many Ethiopians have lived in Norway, and many have been politically active in exile. NOAS require asylum from Ethiopia reassessed before any mailings, and persons associated with illegal opposition parties must be protected in Norway.
Ethiopia is a very authoritarian regime, and the government commits extensive human rights violations against its own people. The Ethiopian regime uses substantial resources to persecute and imprison its critics, whether it is about opposition politicians, journalists and civil activists. International human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch believes that the Ethiopian authorities abusing anti-terror laws to gag political opponents and journalists opinion.
– It is problematic that the above agreement is returning Ethiopian authorities responsible for the returned – the same government that persecutes its critics. No UN agencies or independent organization to oversee the repatriation and reintegration, said Seilskjær.
Norway previously had a far more critical attitude towards the Ethiopian authorities. When Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was in Norway to receive Yara Prize in 2005, he was only meeting of state secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Neither Prime Minister Bondevik or any of the ministers wanted to see him.
The human rights situation in Ethiopia has been clearly deteriorated in recent years. Freedom of the press in the country is gradually tightened, and the persecution of political opponents intensified. Civil society gagged, and Ethiopian governments now prohibit foreign organizations working on democracy and human rights in the country. There is no real independent media again and Ethiopia in recent years has been the African country most journalists have fled.
Norway has decided to increase the Norwegian support to Ethiopia, while Sweden reduces aid to Ethiopia because of increasing human rights violations.
Posted by Tadesse yimer